Songs For A New World: An introduction
The following is an introductory note Jason Robert Brown wrote for
a production of Songs for a New World that took place in Seattle in January
2001. (It was subsequently used for the Clarion and Bridewell productions,
in slightly edited and altered form.)
Songs for a New World was meant to be a very personal little piece. I wrote it in tiny apartments and at open calls and tech rehearsals, and schemed and plotted and planned to get it on, and when it did finally get on, it did exactly what I expected it to do: sold about eight tickets and closed in three weeks. I know that what traditionally occurs is that little shows like Songs for a New World surface once and then disappear if they are not immediately embraced. But that didn't happen with this show: The production of Songs for a New World being presented here tonight is one of sixty licensed productions to occur in the last three years. The album has sold more than ten thousand copies around the world. The vocal score will be available worldwide within six months. I don't understand any of this. I'd like to think that it's because I'm such a genius, but you know, I doubt that that has a whole lot to do with it. I wrote these songs when I was struggling in a city that didn't even notice I was there, when I was a lonely and single college dropout living in a studio apartment in Greenwich Village, when I saw a great many people much older than I was and with a lot more talent who had ultimately had little or no luck doing the thing that mattered most to them. All of that is in here somewhere, and a whole lot more. And I think that all of that struggle and sweat and climbing and pushing is something that we all can understand, because we've probably all felt it in our bones at one point. Songs for a New World is a show that suggests that our best solution for the stress and terror and anxiety we feel is to come together and form a community that will support and uplift each other. So my very personal little piece has turned out to shine a little light on a whole lot of people. Hear my song - it's the one thing I have that has never let me down. Listen to the song that I sing and trust me: we'll be fine.
Jason Robert Brown
New York City, January 2001